This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
Another class of cases exists where one who supplies necessaries to a minor child whose parent refuses or omits to supply them, may recover from such parent. If the child is living with his parent, such parent has a wide discretion as to the style of living to be adopted by his family. He is, therefore, liable only in a very clear case of omission to supply necessaries, unless he has authorized his child to buy the goods for which suit is brought or has expressly or impliedly agreed to pay therefor.1 If the child has left this parent's home with the consent of such parent, necessaries furnished such child constitute a liability against the parent if the child is not in fact provided with them.2 Thus A's minor daughter, B, was by A's permission living apart from A and supporting herself. She fell sick and X attended her as a physician. B did not know of her illness and the circumstances were such as to make it impracticable to notify him. It was held that X could recover from B.3 If the child has left his father's home, without the consent of the father, the question of the latter's liability turns on whether the father's wrongful act caused the child to leave, or whether such child left without legal excuse. If a minor abandons his father's home without his father's being at fault, the father is not liable to third persons who furnish such child with necessaries.4 If the child is compelled to leave home by the wrongful act of the parent, the latter is liable to third persons who furnish such child with necessaries.5 What are necessaries depends on the financial ability, social standing and style of living assumed by the parents of the child. In clear cases it may be a matter of law that certain things are or are not necessaries. Thus a father was held not liable for services rendered without his knowledge in tutoring his son during vacation, the son living at home.6 If dependent on surrounding facts it is for the jury to determine, as whether a commercial education furnished to a child whose father had abandoned his family without cause7 was a necessary. A parent is liable for reasonable funeral expenses of his child, even if such child leaves an estate.8 In some cases the liability of a father to third persons for the support of his minor children has been said not to exist in any case in the absence of statutory provision therefor.9 In all jurisdictions the liability of the parent is limited in the absence of contract on his part, express or implied, or some statutory provision, to the support of his minor children, and he is not liable for necessaries furnished to his adult children.10 Where slavery existed a master was liable for necessaries furnished to a slave whom suck master had not furnished with necessaries. Thus a master who drives his slave away is liable to a physician who cares for such slave while sick, even if the master forbids him to care for such slave.11
16 Williams v. Monroe. 18 B. Mon. (Ky.) 514; Wolcott v. Patterson, 100 Mich. 227; 43 Am. St. Rep. 456; 24 L. R. A. 629; 58 N. W. 1006; Wescott v. Hinckley, 56 N. J. L. 343; 29 Atl. 154.
17Sears v. Giddey, 41 Mich. 590; 32 Am. Rep. 168; 2 N. W. 917; Glea-son v. Warner, 78 Minn. 405; 81 N. W. 206.
18 Bennett v. O'Fallon, 2 Mo. 69; 22 Am. Dec. 440; Hare v. Gibson, 32 O. S. 33; 30 Am. Rep. 568. 82
19 Knox v. Bushnell, 3 C. B. N. S. 334; Zeigler v. David, 23 Ala. 127; Marshall v. Perkins, 20 R. I. 34; 78 Am. St. Rep. 841; 37 Atl. 301.
20 Harris v. Lee, 1 P. Wms. 482; Kenyon v. Farris, 47 Conn. 510; 36 Am. Rep. 86.
21 Leuppie v. Osborn, 52 N. J. Eq. 637; 29 Atl. 433.
22 Skinner v. Tirrell, 159 Mass. 474; 38 Am. St. Rep. 447; 21 L. R. A. 673; 34 N. E. 692. 23 See Sec. 871.
1 Conboy v. Howe, 59 Conn. 112; 22 Atl. 35; Gotts v. Clark, 78 111. 229; Farmington v. Jones, 36 N. H. 271; Van Valkinburgh v. Watson, 13 Johns. (N. Y.) 480; 7 Am. Doc. 395; McLaughlin v. McLaughlin, 159 Pa. St. 489; 28 Atl. 302.
2 Cooper v. McNamara. 92 la. 243; 60 X. W. 522.
3 Porter v. Powell. 79 la. 151; 18 Am. St. Rep. 353; 7 L. R. A. 176; 44 X. W. 295.
4 Hunt v. Thompson, 4 111. 179; 36 Am. Dec. 538; Glynn v. Glynn. 94 Me. 465; 48 Atl. 105; Angel v. McLellan, 16 Mass. 28; 8 Am. Dec. 118.
5 Stanton v. Willson. 3 Day. (Conn.) 37; 3 Am. Dec. 255.
6 Peacock v. Linton, 22 R. I. 328; 53 L. R. A. 192; 47 Atl. 887.
7 Cory v. Cook, 24 R. I. 421; 53 Atl. 315.